A Demarche of Diplomats of the Neutral Countries to
Hungarian Government on Behalf of the Jewish Children
(December 20, 1944)
The undersigned representatives of the neutral powers
have already courteously approached the Royal Hungarian Government twice
in order to intervene on behalf of the persecuted and outlawed Jews.
Now, when the Royal Government considers it necessary - it would be
out of place to argue about the motive for this regulation - to shut
up the Jews in the ghettos, the representatives of the neutral powers
intercede once more to suggest that children at least should be excluded
from this regulation. It would be quite incomprehensible to punish the
innocent or to take measures allegedly in self-protection against creatures
who are simply not in a position to do any harm. Even if we were of
the opinion that you must take precautions against the possibility of
unrest, it would be incomprehensible to have fears of this sort in connection
with children. We hear it asserted that the Jews are Hungary's enemies,
but even in wartime justice and conscience condemn all hostile activities
against children. Why, then, compel these innocent creatures to live
in a place which in many ways is like a prison; where the poor little
ones will see nothing but the misery, suffering and despair of old men
and of women who are being persecuted simply because of their racial
origin? All civilized peoples show consideration for children, and the
whole world would be painfully surprised if traditionally Christian
and chivalrous Hungary wanted to take action against these little ones.
The representatives of the neutral powers confidently
hope that the Royal Government will meet their wishes and all children
(together with their mothers when the children are not yet weaned) are
to remain outside the ghetto in the places of refuge organized by diplomatic
missions or in the various Red Cross institutions. In the execution
of this operation, which is purely humanitarian in purpose, care will
be taken to select only politically unobjectionable persons capable
of bringing up the children in a good patriotic way.
Budapest, 20th December 1944.
Angelo Rotta, Apostolic Nuncio Carl Joan Danielsson,
Swedish Minister Harald Feller,
Swiss Charge d'Affaires Jorge Perlasca,
Spanish Charge d'Affaires Count Pongratz,
Portuguese Charge d'Affaires
Source: Jenoe Levai, "Hungarian Jewry and the
Papacy," Clonmore & Reynolds, 1968, pp. 50-51.
Vashem - Eclipse of Humanity